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Following 9/11, airport and aircraft security was ramped up to all new levels. These changes resulted in a myriad of significant changes regarding nearly all aspects of airline travel on flights within, originating from, or arriving in the United States.
These changes have impacted the way pets are addressed when they fly on commercial airplanes as well. This article is designed to provide you with some essential information pertaining to the rules and regulations of the Transportation Safety Administration, or TSA, and pets.
Pet Screening at the Security Checkpoint
If your pet will be traveling with you in the cabin of an aircraft, your furry companion will have to go through TSA security screening just like you do. You need to understand what to expect when it comes to your pet going through the TSA screening process.
Your pet needs to be brought along with you to the TSA security checkpoint at the airport. Your companion animal needs to he in a hand-held carrier when you reach the checkpoint. Indeed, airport rules likely require your pet to remain in a carrier while on airport grounds.
You will be directed to remove your pet from the carrier directly before the beginning of the screening process. The empty pet carrier is put into the x-ray tunnel as is the case with carryon luggage and the like. Your pet is never left in the carrier when it comes through the x-ray tube. It is not likely that a TSA employee would ask you to do this. If that should happen for some reason, ask to speak with a supervisor immediately.
The pet can be guided through the screening processing in one of two ways. You can carry your furry family member. In the alternative, you can place your pet on a leash during the process as well. You need to make sure that your pet appropriately is leash broken and will no cause any type of disturbance or issue during the screening process.
You and your pet will go through the radar detection equipment at the checkpoint. In the alternative, you both might receive a manual pat-down by a TSA officer. Your hands will also be checked to confirm that there is no explosive residue on them.
Once the screening process is finished, you take your pet to the “re-composure area.” This is the location away from the checkpoint where people put their belts back on and so forth. At this location, you return your pet to the travel carrier.
Tips to Get Through TSA Easily with Your Pet
Make sure you minimize stress associated with the trip as much as you can before you even get to the airport. Taking this approach will make dealing with the TSA screening even easier and less stressful on you and your pet.
One key thing you can do is to acclimate your pet to his or her travel carrier. If your pet is generally familiar with the travel carrier, your companion animal’s stress level will be less on the day of travel.
Take care not to bring your pet into an area in which a TSA K-9 is working, Experience demonstrates that traveling pets can get anxious when they pass into an area where a TSA K-9 is working. This particularly is the case if the TSA K-9 has any type of contact with you or your pet’s carrier.
You must take certain that you are familiar with your pet’s temperament. This includes having an appreciation of how your pet will respond in a crowded place, like an airport terminal or a TSA checkpoint.
You might want to experiment with your pet in more crowded spaces before you go to the airport for your trip. Keep in mind that your pet will be in a carrier nearly all the time while at the airport, including when waiting for a TSA screening. Thus, working to determine how your pet will respond in crowds, if you do not know so already, appropriately can be done with your pet in a travel carrier.
Most airports have pet relief areas. This are particularly suited to dogs. Before heading to TSA screening, you should visit the pet relief area to permit you companion animal the chance to do his or her “business,” if necessary.
By following this recommendations and guidelines, your experience with your pet at the TSA checkpoint will go more smoothly. Indeed, more often than not, a prepared pet gets through the TSA screening process without incident.
Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.
Featured image: Pexels